In the year 2387, the galaxy is threatened by an unusually volatile supernova. Ambassador Spock pilots a ship called The Jellyfish carrying "red matter", intending to create an artificial black hole to consume the supernova. Before Spock completes his mission, the supernova destroys the planet Romulus. Captain Nero of the Romulan mining ship Narada attempts to exact revenge on Spock, whom he blames for the destruction of his homeworld and its inhabitants, including his wife and unborn child. Both ships, however, are caught in the black hole's event horizon and travel into the past.
The Narada arrives first, 154 years in the past. Its arrival is preceded by what looks like a lightning storm in space, which the Federation starship USS Kelvin investigates. Nero attacks the Kelvin, causing severe damage. Acting-Captain George Kirk orders an evacuation and stays behind to provide cover for the fleeing shuttlecraft, his pregnant wife among the passengers. George pilots the Kelvin into the Narada moments after his son James Tiberius Kirk is born. Spock arrives 25 years later, where he is captured by Nero and marooned on the planet Delta Vega so that he can witness the destruction of Vulcan by the Narada, retribution for Spock's failure to save Romulus.
Kirk grows up to be an intelligent, though reckless and cynical, young man. To get him to embrace his potential, Captain Christopher Pike challenges Kirk to emulate his father's heroism and convinces him to join Starfleet. En route to Starfleet Academy, Kirk befriends fellow cadet Leonard McCoy. In his third year at the Academy, Kirk is accused of cheating on the Kobayashi Maru test by its programmer, Commander Spock. At the resultant hearing, Starfleet receives a distress signal from Vulcan that indicates the appearance of a lightning storm in space, and the cadets are mobilized to help crew the ships in orbit. McCoy smuggles the grounded Kirk aboard the USS Enterprise as a patient under his care.
Kirk recognizes the similarities between the Vulcan incident and the encounter that destroyed the Kelvin, and warns Pike that the fleet is heading into a trap. The Enterprise arrives late to find the fleet destroyed and the Narada drilling into Vulcan's core. Nero orders Pike to surrender himself via shuttlecraft. Pike obeys, promoting Spock to captain and Kirk to first officer. En route to the Narada, Kirk, Hikaru Sulu, and Chief Engineer Olson perform an orbital skydive onto the drilling platform to destroy it; Olson is killed, but Kirk and Sulu stop the drill. However, it has drilled deep enough for Nero to launch red matter into the planet's core, imploding the planet into a black hole. Spock rescues some of the planet's elders, including his father, but his mother dies along with the majority of the planet's population. Nero sets course for Earth and tortures Pike for the command codes to its perimeter defenses.
After a heated argument with Spock about their next move, Kirk is marooned on Delta Vega for mutiny. Spock orders the ship to rendezvous with the rest of the fleet. On Delta Vega, Kirk encounters Ambassador Spock, who relays the future's events through a mind meld and insists that Kirk must become captain of the Enterprise. The two travel to a nearby Starfleet outpost where they meet Montgomery Scott. The elder Spock beams Kirk and Scott aboard the Enterprise. Once aboard, Kirk deliberately enrages Spock to force him to acknowledge that he is emotionally compromised, thereby forfeiting command which then passes to Kirk.
Spock, Scott, and Pavel Chekov devise a plan to ambush the Narada by dropping out of warp behind Saturn's moon Titan. Kirk and Spock beam aboard the Narada. While Kirk rescues Pike, Spock retakes the elder Spock's ship, destroys the drill and lures the Narada away from Earth before piloting a collision course. The Enterprise arrives and beams Kirk, Pike, and Spock away before the collision, which ignites the remaining red matter and creates a black hole within the Narada's superstructure. Kirk offers to help rescue Nero and his crew, but the Romulan refuses and the Narada is destroyed. The Enterprise escapes the same fate by ejecting and then igniting the ship's warp drive reactor cores, with the resulting explosion pushing them clear.
Kirk is promoted to captain of the Enterprise, relieving the newly-promoted Admiral Pike. While searching for his father, Spock encounters his older self in a hangar; Ambassador Spock is departing to help establish a new colony for the remaining Vulcans. The younger Spock informs his older self of his wishes to leave Starfleet to aid in the establishment of a new Vulcan colony. Ambassador Spock tells his younger self that he and Kirk need each other and that he should do what feels right. Taking the advice, Spock remains in Starfleet, becoming first officer under Kirk's command.
|Chris Pine||...||James T. Kirk|
|Leonard Nimoy||...||Spock Prime|
|Zoe Saldana||...||Uhura (as Zoë Saldana)|
|Simon Pegg||...||Montgomery Scott|
|Winona Ryder||...||Amanda Grayson|
|Chris Hemsworth||...||George Kirk|
|Jennifer Morrison||...||Winona Kirk|